Urine flows from the bladder through a tube, the urethra, leaving the body through the urethral opening that’s located on the tip of the penis. A congenital defect, hypospadias occurs when the opening of the urethra develops on the underside of the penis or scrotum.
Effects of Hypospadias
Hypospadias can result in functional problems, like:
- Infertility, by preventing semen flow
- Sexual dysfunction, due to a downward curve to the penis
- Abnormal spray when urinating
- Foreskin that only covers part of the penis head
Treating Hypospadias in Children
Hypospadias does not always require surgery. When symptoms do require surgery, sometimes more than one procedure is required.
While a child can have the surgery at any age, the optimal time is typically between 6-24 months old, when penile growth is minimal.
If necessary, surgeons use tissue grafts from the foreskin or inside of the mouth to:
- Reconstruct the urethra opening
- Straighten a curved penis
Since the surgery may require the use of your child’s foreskin for a skin graft, parents are advised not to circumcise a baby who’s been diagnosed with hypospadias.